Nigerian Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi, has described government authorities as bullies behind the failure of businesses operating in Africa’s largest economy.
Utomi said regulators are the biggest risk of doing business in Nigeria, reason why Forbes labelled Nigeria as Africa’s money losing machine during the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The economist stated this during an interview with Arise TV on Wednesday, where he said the government was preventing capital from being made at home, rather than facilitating domestic growth.
“The biggest risk of doing business in Nigeria is regulatory risk. Regulator is dangerous in Nigeria. This is because there’s a cultural problem. If you are given a uniform in Nigeria, you are defined as a bully.” He said.
Utomi added that, “How can we change mindsets of authority to realise that there are businesses to facilitate, not to bully. The Nigerian government is the reason business fail in Nigeria.
“Forbes article in 28 May, 2019, ‘Nigeria: Africa’s money losing machine’. Essentially, it is making the point that if you want to lose money, go into Nigeria.”
Regulators are ignorant, lagging behind innovators
He was critical of how government regulators clampdown on innovations, admitting that the agencies are hostile to businesses due to ignorance, and not out of wickedness.
Utomi explained that to progress, the country needs innovations, but the innovators are ten steps ahead of the regulators who act out of ignorance to stop the “rascals”.
In his words, Utomi said, “Foreign direct investment can stimulate things, but let’s make capital at home, but you know what, government is preventing capital from being made at home.
“And I don’t think its because they are wicked, I believe it’s because they are ignorant. So we have a joint lesson to educate each other on how we can build an economy.
“Innovate, innovate, (but) we cannot make progress without vision. And you know vision is going to be difficult, and those who innovate are usually ten steps ahead of those who regulate.
“And those who regulate see their position as stopping these rascals (innovators), and in the end, we lose out, we don’t make the progress.” The economist said during the interview.